Premier League preview
When the 2013/14 beMobile Premier League kicks off on Friday, many subplots will arise. The possibility of Madinda Ndlovu winning a hat trick of league titles, David Bright’s side reaching their title winning potential, Dragojlo Stanojlovic’s ability to sustain his side’s dominance in an unknown territory, will surely serve up a competitive league season.
For the past five years Gaborone United, Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs have been domestic champions respectively. The emergence of Nico United will also be a threat to the trio since they earned second place in the league last season.
Defending champions Magosi have parted ways with players who contributed to almost 62 per cent of their league goals last season. However, despite the loss of their attacking talent, the club purchased four players who scored a combined tally of 50 league goals last season.
Bonolo Frazer, Patrick Lenyeletse, Onalethata Tshekiso and Lemponye Tshireletso were signed by the club to replace exported players such as Galabgwe Moyana, Kekaetswe ‘Mara’ Moloi, Phenyo Mongala, Jerome Ramatlhakwana and Dirang Moloi.
GU will surely be considered title challengers once again as they have managed to retain their star players such as Noah Maposa and Jackie Mothathego. Bright’s second season will define his reign at the club since last season was judged by many as a transitional period for the experienced coach. He has arguably the best squad in the league; the arrival of Zebras left-back Edwin has strengthened the side’s defence.
In the striking department, the club has an array of talent which includes Ronald Chikomo, Tebogo Sembowa and Moemedi Motlhaping. The trio will be under pressure to produce lethal combinations capable of winning the league for their side. The club’s four year wait to win the league will be a motivating factor in the pursuit of glory.
Rollers have secured two time league champion Ndlovu to help them resurrect their glory days. Popa has been pushed down the league’s pecking order for the past two seasons. They finished in eighth place last season. However, their frantic transfer window activity is regarded as a statement of intent by supporters and analysts alike.
Players to watch
Nico forward Khumoetsile Kufigwa will inherit the goal scoring responsibilities of the club this season. The heavily built striker is expected to soften the blow of the loss of Frazer to Chiefs. Kufigwa’s strong physique is one of his best qualities; his frame will allow him to hold up play and invite others into play. He is a versatile player who can also play in a role behind the main striker.
Chiefs’ striker Frazer was the league’s surprise package last season. He burst into the goal scoring charts and challenged Mara Moloi for the Green Boot award till the final weeks of the season. His main challenge will be to replace his former rival and prove that last season was just not a fluke.
GU midfielder Mothathego’s form will be vital in his side’s title ambitions. The playmaker’s ability to link defence and attack with his precision passing will need to be of the highest order if he is to finally live up to his potential. Mothathego scored seven goals last season, and any improvement on the goal scoring front will be a boost for his side’s title chances.
Maano Ditshupo of Township Rollers will be the club’s new creative force following the departure of Ntesang Simanyana. Ditshupo’s partnership with Lawrence Majawa will aim to be a force to be reckoned with to help the club become a powerhouse again. The former Extension Gunners player will be deployed in a more attacking role to ease the pain of selling their playmaker to Polokwane City.
Youngsters to look out for
Teenage sensation Obonwe Maome was unleashed by Moyagoleele last season and impressed pundits and fans with his dazzling displays. The youngster is yet to establish himself as a regular player but his three league goals last season showed that he will be an asset to the club when called upon.
Rollers goalkeeper, Thabiso Mathe will provide competition for Michael Pepukani and Mwampule Masule. The 20 -year -old stopper showed glimpses of form during a tough 1-1 draw against Chiefs in the first half of the season. If he builds on last year’s form, he could displace his teammates and become the side’s first choice goalkeeper.